Sunday, November 24, 2013

What Was Your First Job?

Yes, it's a dirty word, but some body's got to use it!


At eleven years old, I was ready to tackle the world and make some money.  I had always liked to keep busy and found fun in doing chores (they always said there was something wrong with me).  In addition to those naysayers, my family told me that I would have plenty of time to work when I was an adult.  Of course, I did not listen.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work for my Grandfather, Doc.  Doc was not a doctor, as you might think, but an owner of several, large, western-wear, clothing stores.  My Grandpa had thousands of boots, hats, belts, jeans, you name it.  If it was western, he sold it.  The biggest store that he owned was in a very popular, local shopping mall named Valley West Mall (on a side note: this mall was torn down many years ago, but because it was loved by many, I started a Facebook group Fans of Valley West Mall and am proud to say that there are almost 1,200 people in this group, who now live all over the country).

This store being the biggest one of them all, and closest to my home, was where I began my working career.  At eleven, I was given the very prestigious and important job of maintaining the appearance of the store.  This included vacuuming what seemed like the entire length of a football field, cleaning mirrors, dusting, taking out the garbage and my least two favorites of cleaning the bathrooms and emptying the ashtrays.  Although it seems like a lot of work for a little person, I did my job diligently.  I even road my bike to and from work which was probably a three mile ride one-way.

My bike, aw, that was my freedom (but that's a whole other story).

Anyway, I made a decent salary and I got to go spend my earnings at the food court or at the video game arcade - so life was good.  

As I got older, I begged for a promotion.  I was given the task of working by the register processing credit card transactions during the busy holiday seasons. "What's the big deal about that?" you ask.  "People run their own credit cards through the key pad - what did you have to do?"  Well, my friend, in the mid 1980's there were no credit card machines.  We had three-part, carbon copy credit card slips that needed to be filled out and then placed on a sliding imprint machine with the card.  We ran the imprinter over the paper and "Walla!" the numbers were now on the slip.  In addition, I got to call an 800 number with every transaction and enter information into the phone in hopes that the credit went through and I would be given an authorization code to complete the order.  At 13, I was VERY IMPORTANT!

At 16, I was ready for bigger and better things.  Although I really wanted to work behind the cash register and run all of the transactions and touch the money, I was only given a few opportunities to do so.  Not because I did anything wrong but because I was just too young, I suppose!  So, I was given the job of selling women's clothes.  I had to bug people and ask if they wanted to spend their hard earned money on a $50 Panhandle Slim blouse or a $100 pair of Wranglers.  I did not make a commission but at those prices, I sure wish I did.  One part of my job was SUPER awesome.  I got to work with a leather stamping machine and dye to personalize custom belt orders.  Remember when people had their names on the back of their belts (Jim, Bob, Chuck).  That was ME displaying my beautiful skills.  And skills I needed, especially when working with someones expensive $100+ belt they just purchased.  If I messed up, I was sure to be in trouble.

My first job allowed me to learn a lot about a lot.  It is also where I met the man who, 14 years later became my ex-husband and the father to my 2 AWESOME kids.

What was your first job and what did you learn?

3 comments:

*Lindsey* said...

Wasn't your first job baby sitting your adorable baby sister? :)))

I got my very first job for my
18th birthday working at Claires Boutique. The pay was awful, the location was awful (but close to home). But I loved all the little nick knacks they had and it paid my car and insurance payment, which was all I had to worry about back then :)

Veronica Lee said...

I was temping as a clerk in the bursary dept of the college I studied in while awaiting my results. I was so inexperienced and was bullied by the senior clerks. I hated my boss too.
Hi! Stopping by from Mom Bloggers Club. Great blog!
Happy New Year!

Jen Broadwater said...

I got my first job when I was 15 at A.J. Bayless grocery store on 43rd and Dunlap. At just 2.85 per hour, I was happy to have a job and a bicycle to get there. Until of course, someone stole my bike that was locked up right out front. Darn the bad luck.